Nahdia

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I worked hard to look after my daughters. They have all done their degrees, art and design, media, business studies and psychology. They are all working. The two older ones married English men who became Muslim. We are happy. I love Birmingham, it?s so open.

I came from Lahore, Pakistan. I arrived in England on 1st May 1977. I think my husband came in 1968 or 1969 for study. He came back home to get married, and I came with him and settled in Birmingham. In those days it was easy. Because my husband was studying here and he was working as well, as a chartered accountant, we never thought about going to any other city.

When we moved into our flat, there was a school nearby. My husband told me to go out and find out about learning English and make some friends. One of our neighbours came and introduced themselves to me and took me with her to the school. I started going there to learn English. After two years I had my first daughter and I liked it so much, I used to take her there. They ran a playgroup there as well. Then slowly I started helping out, like a classroom assistant.

I was doing that for a few years and obviously I had four daughters so I had been going there a long time. Then the job came along and she asked me if I would like to do it and I said yes and I worked there for 14 years. It was really good. I made lots of friends and I slowly picked things up.

After fifteen years my husband and I separated. I went to a hostel, and left my children at home with my husband and my in-laws. All my friends helped me. First time I went out for shopping myself I was so scared, I didn?t know which way to go. I tried to keep a landmark so I knew where I was. All the houses looked the same.

Then I got a house in the Sheldon area, I think it was Midland Heart or Focus or the council. It was 3 bedrooms. I didn?t need 3 bedrooms so I exchanged it, and then also I could go back home on a bus to see my daughters. And this is where I am living now. It?s a Midland Heart property, 2 bedrooms so I was happy, nice new build, very happy.

I worked hard to look after my daughters, and take them to school and take them to Mosque and bring them back. They have all done their degrees, the eldest is doing art and design and the second daughter she did media, the third daughter did business studies and the youngest is doing psychology. They are all working, the youngest one in her last year is studying hard and she really has good marks. Two are married, they married English men who became Muslim. All are happy here. We are happy.

I would recommend people come and live in Birmingham. I?ve visited Scotland, London, Manchester. I prefer Birmingham, it?s so open, and I just like it here.

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